Hualien – Xincheng – Suao – Taipei

Posted: April 9, 2015 in MTB Touring Taiwan 2012
Tags: , , , ,
Wednesday March 7, 2012, 40 km (25 miles) – Total so far: 208 km (129 miles)

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That’s a weird tandem, but this nice mural keeps prying eyes off the military air base behind it

I think we are in for another treat today. Looking at our print outs, it’s 90 kms to the outskirts of Taipei. Looking at our progress and reality on the road, one half of that will do, seeking consolation in the fact that the 2nd half of the ride would not be much fun, ie inland, more traffic, inclement weather. So much for well made plans, hopes and dreams.

There’s always Plan B and that turned out to be interesting, a cold mineral water spring and bath in the town of Suao. And I haven’t ridden tne mothership bus yet, not while there’s cycling to do. There are 5 smug fellows in that exclusive club and maybe 2 ladies who almost qualify if not for sheep appreciation moments.

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Things get goofy when a crimson sunrise does not materialise….

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the Pacific Ocean, it’s Bob’s favourite

If you check out the website of the Bayview, there’s a link to a roof top web cam showing a live feed of the weather. Most times there’s a stark contrast to the blue sky and sea panoramas on the website itself. Maybe it’s a hint to stay another day, on another trip with another bike.

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* Getting my kite fix before the man arrived, 2 of them

You can sense the trip is winding down when I have to seek entertainment from a parafoil in the early hours of a gloomy morning. The winds are high and temperatures low as it flutters 200 m into the air above our hotel. Not more than 10 minutes of cheap thrills before I see 2 figures in orange overalls making a bee line for me.

Drats is there an asylum nearby? Nope , it was the marine police, coast guard or some other authority who rather nicely told me that there was an airport nearby and to bring down what looked like a giant flying sperm. I thanked them for their niceties. I too wouldn’t want to get my nice toy all incinerated in the engine of an F 18. Game over, but due to the strength of the winds, it was going to take some time, a long time as I hid behind a wooden shelter, out of sight.

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Mediterranean inspired dining room at the Bayview Hotel

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Ravages of sun, salt, rain and time…….

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Our morning ritual

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“There’s going to be more tunnels, only this time with much more traffic on the Suhua coastal highway”

Today, being the 5h day of cycling, I think even the newbies/irregular as opposed to regular cyclists found the going easy. Muscles are conditioned, everyone’s used to the routine of wake up, pack up, load up and go. That and hundreds of photographs, each. And the day had to end too soon, for reasons stated above. We made it to Xincheng town in double quick time. That’s the entrance to the gorge. A single stop at 7-11 went by pretty quick too. Once across the Liwu river an all too familiar sight greeted us, a single line cut into towering cliffs that meant only one thing, lowering of gears and huffing and puffing uphill. Oh that’s two things.

We were getting our money’s worth as it’s also better heading north, cycling on the right with the Pacific just a cliff side drop away. Too bad for the two blonds we saw cycling on the other side. Why didn’t they stop ? You can’t take the fear of falling rocks too seriously. That happens only in rainy weather. Look at the bluest of blue skies.

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* Somebody, or their water bottle is leaking big time

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* On the line of least rolling resistance

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* Making up for lost suspension

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Look familiar ?

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A last look at the coastal entrance to Taroko. We’ve just crossed the bridge across the Liwu and are heading up the road for more cliff side cycling, north to Taipei

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Single file only cycling in the tunnels please

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Now you know where I get my info from………

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They are spectacular

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Shoulders are non existent and photos must be quick

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The weather is gorgeous, again and again

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* I’m just hiding in the shade and others have to surmise that I am grief stricken at the end of 40 kms

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Well this was inevitable as I felt a tear coming on…..

Today, being the 5h day of cycling, I think even the newbies/irregular as opposed to regular cyclists found the going easy. Muscles are conditioned, everyone’s used to the routine of wake up, pack up, load up and go. That and hundreds of photographs, each. And the day had to end too soon, for reasons stated above. We made it to Xincheng town in double quick time. That’s the entrance to the gorge. A single stop at 7-11 went by pretty quick too. Once across the Liwu river an all too familiar sight greeted us, a single line cut into towering cliffs that meant only one thing, lowering of gears and huffing and puffing uphill. Oh that’s two things.

We were getting our money’s worth as it’s also better heading north, cycling on the right with the Pacific just a cliff side drop away. Too bad for the two blonds we saw cycling on the other side. Why didn’t they stop ? You can’t take the fear of falling rocks too seriously. That happens only in rainy weather. Look at the bluest of blue skies.

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Japanese inspired bento cuisine at a highway rest stop

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the cold springs at Suao

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It was a brief goodbye to our second in command, Ying Chang, (in sandals) off to his sister’s place in Taipei. Till we meet again.

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No bikes allowed in the rooms at this place in Taipei. Would a messy lobby be better ? We’re good at that you know

We got into Taipei pretty late in to the night, held up by slow moving traffic during rush hour on a weekday night. For those like me who are out on a bike even in peak hours, it must be the ability to move and not stand still, that makes this entry into Taipei with a growling stomach, all that more excruciating. Plus we were headed to Thamshui, Tamsui or Danshuei in New Taipei City, a northern suburb by a river with those 3 names (pick one) meaning more cross town traffic to negotiate.

Scenic bike paths abound on both sides of the river, we were told. Somehow I felt that the best part of the trip cycling wise was over, when it rained from 9 in the night to 9 in the morning the next day…..

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Yeah, this biking vacation is getting tougher by the day,http://www.happy800.com.tw/about_us.php

The ‘Double Content’ ads drew us in. Anything for more food

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